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And that’s the end of the title push. So horrendously incompetent to mess up that 2-0 lead. I thought we needed a 2 point swing in our favour to be in it after this weekend, the league ain’t happening.
Just like the season as a whole we were presented with an easier ride that expected, West Ham gifting us the ascendency with a hapless 3 at the back. Lino then doing us a rare favour chalking off a good goal.
Then we just need to be sensible until half time. Get every back, let them have the ball, don’t let them cross. We failed to do any of those things.
Scored 3 goals away today and at Liverpool, scored 2 at Old Trafford and White hart lane. In each of those games we were superior except for a 10 minute where we blew it all. Get Pete Gil out of retirement, we’re the braindeads again
…Well could one game sum up Arsenal’s season better than that one. Some brilliant football, a massive collapse and a some famous mental strength that just wasn’t enough.
I don’t want to be annoyed at today’s result for ending our title hopes because drawing away (regardless of the fact we were 2-0 up) to the team in 6th is not the reason we’ve failed to win the title.
We failed to win the title because we didn’t buy an outfield player last summer. Then after a decent preseason we lost to West Ham at home on the opening weekend. We failed to beat the worst Chelsea team in my lifetime with two pathetic performances. We picked up 2 points from 3 games in November including games against Premier League powerhouses West Brom and Norwich. We lost to a Southampton team in a dire run of form after beating City 5 days before. Oh and it was 4-0. 4-0.
After topping the league (somehow?!) on January 16th we then picked up 3 points from four games. Failure to add a big player in the Hansard window to see us over the line. After a rather fortunate but priceless victory against Leicester we moved to within two points of the top. This was the moment. We were finally going to take control of the title race. That was followed by a disgraceful performance away to a patched up United side, which ended up being a worse result, in my opinion, than the 8-2.
But we had a chance in midweek to come back stronger. So we decided to lose 1-2 at home to a Swansea side that had made 6 changes, after leading 1-0. Not to mention the 7, SEVEN, defeats in cup competitions alone.
So yeah, that’s where the season has gone wrong.
Lack of Cech was still annoying
In 16 Conclusions, Sarah Winterburn seems to rule out the impact of Ospina’s selection ahead of Cech. Or is she just rallying against claims that Ospina is useless?
If the latter, then fair enough. Please take the below as my venting at a manager for whom I have the utmost respect, but also harbour an increasingly despondent frustration. If the former however, then I would have to politely offer an alternative viewpoint. All the same really…
Ospina is not useless by any means, and neither for that matter is Willy Caballero. However, they are back up for superior goalkeepers. In my view, if the superior keeper is fit, and you are about to play one of the most important matches of your season, then you put him into the team. Absolutely no question. The difference may be intangible, based on his psychological influence upon other players, or due to a gamblers anticipation of a world-class, game changing moment; but it is a difference none-the-less.
Even more so, when your oppenent possesses players such as Carrol or Payet, with near unique attacking qualities, who will likely, in the context, present season defining challenges; you realise that, that, is why you bought one of the top five keepers on the planet. And you put him in the team.
As per the Champions League group matches earlier in the season, not selecting Cech for your biggest matches in favour of Ospina will make at very best a neutral difference. At worst it is total folly. I find myself cynically wondering if this decision was Wenger spotting his chance to again give Ospina ‘the nod’ over Cech when in all reason he shouldn’t; hoping to provide some cold vindication for a similarly questionable and widely derided decision made earlier in the season. Just like stubbornly not strengthening adequately in the summer (again), or not buying a striker in the January window when top of the league – poised for the nearly but, increasingly clearly, not quite deserved vindication you and your fans must surely crave.
Needless to say, Wenger had the last laugh (or Arsene Knows, if you like)… except barring two FA cups, Arsenal haven’t really had the last laugh for a very long time now. They are however, fucking pissing themselves at the Walkers Crisps factory, are they not?
It would be like, say, picking Walcott and Ramsey for one of the seasons pivotal games, while leaving Ozil and Sanchez on the bench….
Playing Ospina over Cech removes from the field of play your only genuinely world class defensive player, a born winner and experienced leader – a goal keeper capable of stopping shots on target that most of his peers just cannot. This is a 30-odd year-old player signed for circa £10 million, in order to enhance your chances of winning matches just like this one. Someone capable of changing 3-3 draws into 3-2 victories. Someone worth “10 to 12 points a season”.
It is not guaranteed that Cech would have won Arsenal this game. This is not the sole reason that, in any respect other than sweatily looking back over your shoulder a few hundred miles north to Manchester for the next month or so; Arsenal’s season is over. However, it just might be a significant contributor, or at least symptomatic of a manager who is making questionable decisions and underachieving as a result. A manager that will be retiring sometime in the next few years anyway; and so really could be moved upstairs without having to wonder if maybe you should have been more careful what you wished for.
Ben (you can have Guardiola and his boring tikitaka, if you like) MCFC, Manchester
Carroll for the Euros? Don’t be silly
Andy C scored an excellent hat trick against Arsenal and all the talk during and after the game was about him going to the Euros as a Plan B. Now I have nothing against a big man in an international team, I enjoyed Peter Couch (particularly his goal scoring and goal celebrations), there have been a number of successful big men at international level and some were even good with the ball at their feet (is that the most tired cliche statement from a commentator?). There are three things that temper my enthusiasm (four if you consider Andy C’s Arsenal like ability to get injured).
Firstly; once he started scoring in the weekend the commentary came out with the “no international center backs would fancy facing him in the last 20 minutes of a game” or some variation of that. It must be said that Andy C is very good as isolating and out jumping full backs so let’s assume the commentator meant defenders and not just center backs. Purely using the Arsenal game as evidence (hardly conclusive given their proven track record of making big opposition forwards look better than they are) it can be said that Andy C did get the better of Bellerin, Gabriel and Monreal but only the later has ever played an international (4 in fact, 2 were friendlies and no caps since 2013 – so at best an ex-international).
It needs to be pointed out that he did not get the better of Koscielny who is an actual international with 23 caps. So based on this one game the evidence is that actual real international defenders and in particular international center backs will not be panicked by the sight of Andy C pulling off his track suit (other than the usual unsettling effect caused by a large hairy man disrobing in public).
Secondly; having a target man as a Plan B is fine as long as you have players on the park who can reliably cross the ball into the penalty area. Is England blessed with good crosses of the ball, is Roy likely to select players who can cross a ball with any accuracy and if there are English players capable of crossing the ball will they be playing at the same time as Andy C. If you don’t have anyone who can supply the aerial ammunition there is no point in having an aerial sharpshooter.
Thirdly; Andy C’s temperament is poor. The foul on Gabriel in the first half is the sort that gets you a red in internationals, the elbow on the same player later in the game was little better, when he once again failed to beat Koscielny he pulled him to the ground giving away a free kick that ruled out Payet’s ‘goal’. Please don’t think I am being one eyed here – Gabriel and Coquelin both should have been booked for poor tackles on Andy C and Gabriel’s deliberate second half kick to bring Andy C down was worthy of a red.
Andy C is a walking caution just waiting to happen and it is more likely to happen the better the opposition is, which is off course when you most need a Plan B. Gabriel has control issues as witnessed against Costa and Carroll but Koscielny does not as witnessed against Costa and Carroll – actual real international center backs don’t have control issues and this will only increase the chance of Andy C to get himself booked.
Sure I can see Roy taking him but I have doubts about it being worth while and who wants to see a Plan B that involves pumping the ball into the box and hoping (ok to be honest when you are 1 goal down pumping the ball into the box and hoping can be ‘edge-of-the-seat’ stuff but not if the opposition has a Mertesacker winning all the headers).
If I call Monreal an ex-international for having not played since 2013 shouldn’t I also call Andy C an ex-international since it was 2012 when he last played one?
…So when Andy Carroll has his one game a year where he’s unplayable, that warrants his inclusion in the England squad does it?
Give it a couple of weeks and he’ll either be injured or having an absolute stinker against a competent centre back.
May as well take Peter Crouch to the Euros, at least he’s had plenty of practice sitting on the bench this season.
But Cresswell and Antonio should be in England’s squad
If Luke Shaw is permanently broken and I hope to god he isn’t. United could do a whole lot worse that Cresswell.
Speaking of West Ham United fullbacks why aren’t the both of them in The England squad. Power, pace, great delivery and decent defensively. Versatility too with Antonio. He can play wide right if England go traditional 4-4-2.
Hakim, Sri Lanka
Don’t think even they’d say he’s decent
Just watching a replay of the West Ham v Arsenal game and I can’t help but notice that Gabriel is total b*llocks. He is, right?
Looks like one of those Arsenal players that Gooners say is decent but is actually pants and everybody knows it.
Stu, 14 hours from London
Proper Football Clubs?
Dunno if anyone had suggested this before but……..Terry Hall’s article of Exeter City and the idea of them ‘doing things the right way’ got me thinking that if we can have a PFM surely we can have a PFC or ‘Proper Football Club’. A few of the criteria by which PFC membership can be judged may be:
1) do they traditionally ‘play the game the right way Jeff’? e.g. West Ham
2) do the (preferably long-suffering) fans ‘turn up in their thousands week after week Gary’? e.g. Newcastle
3) do they have a chairman (preferably British) who will ‘back the manager’? e.g. Middlesboro
4) are they ‘not a sacking club’? e.g. Ipswich, Middlesboro
5) do they have a ‘proud tradition’? (preferably pre-1960’s) e.g. Wolves, Huddersfield etc
6) have they always had ‘leaders on the pitch Tommo’ who can be cited in any discussion of 70’s hardmen? e.g. Smithy, Chopper etc
7) do they have a ‘spiritual home’ which is now a housing estate? e.g. the Victoria Ground, Ayresome Park etc
Anyone got any more suggestions for criteria?
Should be ashamed to publish this piece for free
As they say on these shores, I “loves me” some Daniel Storey. Consistent, notable, unbiased analysis. Until…well…until that thing (I might be the first to read it since it’s still human time over here). The 5 Spurs players who could walk into Manyoo thing.
I’m not saying he is wrong – name me a side Dele Alli couldn’t walk into, I’ll hand over my credit card to sign him although I doubt he’d fancy the lower leagues – but the piece was just a bizarre chunk of slay. Why is this even a piece, other than fan-baiting? Surprise: the second PL team has some players you could name that are better than the (barely) 5th place team (can only come up with 5?). History, yes, transition, yes, dodgy manager, yes, but…la la la.
I’m inclined to the Pochettino factor, undeniably brilliant, but let’s set that aside for the larger issue (here): if F635 is going to claim to be above the fray, as the Mediawatch column systematically claims – and for the record I believe that, which is why I keep reading – why stoop to that level?
Make Storey into a Beebs reporter that trolls for hits from what is bizarrely apparently about to become the wealthiest club in the world despite being sh*te? “Not for me”. Stats, lovely. Argument, lovely, as you’d expect from Storey. Point on a serious footballing website: unapparent.
I accept money has to be made, and clicks make it. I do not accept my favorite site having my favorite writer do a schlock job that could be written be any follower-slob, including myself. The same column could have been written with different names about any team in the top PM 7-8…but it wasn’t, was it? Tottenham. Manchester United.
If you have the principles you claim, you should not be ashamed to publish this.
Iain (CUFC), Seattle
(MC – Tottenham are playing Manchester United on Sunday. We wanted to use the piece to indicate how far United have fallen and Spurs have progressed, in terms of creativity (Eriksen), goalscorer (Kane), a central defensive pair rather than individual (Alderweireld), marauding full-backs (Walker) and a young English spine (Alli). Setting it out like that felt like the most appropriate way. If that was crime, sue us)